North Wales Police are reminding motorists of the dangers of driving whilst using a mobile phone as they back a week-long national awareness campaign.
The campaign, being coordinated by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), will run from Monday 23rd until Sunday 29th January, will see officers continue to tackle drivers who endanger their own lives and the lives of other road users.
Officers will also use the week to raise awareness of the change in legislation which comes into place on March 1st 2017, which will see drivers, if caught using a phone behind the wheel, face a £200 fine and six points on their licence.
Inspector Dave Cust from the Roads Policing Unit said: “Driving whilst using a mobile phone is a serious concern for police, and a concern that so many drivers continue and choose to risk becoming involved in a serious or fatal road traffic collision.
“Even the most experienced or competent of drivers can easily be distracted and a slight lapse in concentration can have devastating consequences.
“Along with drink driving, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and driving carelessly, using a mobile phone behind the wheel, whether it be texting, using an app, or making a phone call is classed as one of the “Fatal 5”; the 5 most common causes of fatal road traffic collisions.
“With the increased use of smart phones we are also seeing drivers being distracted whilst accessing their apps, reading their emails or accessing the internet. Drivers need to be aware that these actions carry the same danger and the same penalty.”
“Last autumn we launched our #OpSnap campaign, an initiative which allows video submissions and photographic evidence to be sent to us from people who have witnessed driving offences. Over recent months we have received footage capturing motoring offences including careless and dangerous driving, people on mobile telephones and people being distracted whilst using their smart devices behind the wheel.
“We recognise that the vast majority of the public want to use the road network to get from A to B safely; and that they don’t wish to tolerate unnecessary risks that some are exposed to by the actions of others.
“Our message to drivers is to not put others at risk – and to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.”
Between 1st January and 31st December 2016, North Wales Police issued 924 TORs (Traffic Offence Reports) to drivers who were caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel. During the same period, Go Safe also issued 81 NIPs (Notice of Intended Prosecutions) to those caught using their phones whilst driving.
North Wales Police will be updating social media with advice and guidance throughout the campaign the hashtags #Fatal5 and #eyesontheroad.
- Don’t make or answer calls when you’re driving. All phone calls distract drivers’ attention from the road. You can pick up any missed calls or texts when it is safe and convenient to do so. If you need to use the phone when driving, then stop at the first safe opportunity
- It’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile when driving on the road even if you’ve stopped at traffic lights or are stuck in a traffic jam or are in a car park. All these situations are covered by the legal definition of ‘driving on the road’.
- Be aware that if you get just 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.
- Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.
- Park safely before using your mobile phone. Do not park on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
- Don’t call other people when they’re driving. If you call someone and they tell you they are driving, ask them to call you back when they have parked up safely.
Further information regarding #OpSnap is available via http://www.north-wales.police.uk/advice-and-support/safer-roads/operation-snap.aspx